The Jasper Chronicles

The Journal of a Cynical Dad

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Bonjour du Québec

(Internet availability has been shady during our trip. So these entries, while written a few days ago, I'm only posting them now).

P and I are on our first vacation since our trip to Chile and Easter Island almost two years ago. Travelling was easier back then to be sure, all we had to do was decide where we wanted to go, and go. That particular trip we also had a second objective, to see if we could conceive The Boy (or The Girl) abroad, ideally on Easter Island because really, how cool would that be?

We never really 'tried' to have a baby, P and I decided that she would go off birth control and then if it happens, it happens. Obviously it happened, but according to the doctors, not until we got back from Chile. I've toyed with the idea of telling The Boy he was conceived in Easter Island anyways. Based on the calulations we're only off by five days, and its one of those things not too many people get to actually say: "My parents did it behind a Moai on Easter Island when they had me."

Now when we travel we have to consider The Boy in our plans, and while he travels well, there are some destinations that are better suited to a 13-month old baby than others. For example we decided against visiting New York until he gets older. Not because it's a challenging city for babies, it's because we'd have to be back in our hotel early every evening to put him to bed. While there are tons of things to see and do there during the day, you're only seeing half the city if you can't go out at night. New York is a long way to go to spend your nights in a hotel room watching TV.

So this trip we decided to go to La belle Province, Quebec, visiting a friend in Quebec City, hanging out in Montreal and finally a few days in Ottawa. We figured we'd still have to be back in our hotel early, but it won't be nearly as expensive.

It turns out time zones means nothing to The Boy. 11:00 is 8:00 to him, so he's living the nightlife, and we get to too. The first night in Montreal we went to the Latin Quarter for a late dinner. The Latin Quarter is an entertainment district of sorts, chock-o-block full of movie theaters, bars, clubs and restaurants. It was around 10:30 PM and the young and beautiful were out in force. The Boy was, of course, the only baby there. He turned a lot of heads, and P and I got a lot of confused looks. Qui, nous sommes de mauvais parents (Yes, we are bad parents), keeping our baby out way past his bedtime.

Confused looks aside, The Boy had a great time, stopping in front of every bar, club and restaurant to dance to the music and fully checking everything out. We also realized it was his first real taste of the night. He spent most of last winter as a blob on our floor, pretty much concerned only with the immediate area around him. By the time he started becoming better aware of his surroundings, the days were getting longer. Through attrition he's slowly changing his clock, but if we do manage to keep him on Pacific Standard Time the entire trip, he'll get to see the bright lights of the big cities a few more times before we get home.

He loves the nightlife. He's got to boogie. On the disco 'round, oh yeah.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

What a Fine Milkman You'll Make

No matter what time we put The Boy to bed, no matter how many naps he takes during the day, no matter when we feed and bath him, he consistently wakes up between 5:30 and 6:30 every morning. It's been like this for months now, and short of going to bed ourselves at 8:30, we're not getting a ton of sleep.

We've tried scheduling his naps, bedtimes, meals, snacks, baths at different times, but the results are always the same. Bed at 7:30? Up at 5:30. Bed at 9:00? Up at 6:00. I'm tempted to keep him up till 4:00 am, just to see what happens (because it's just like me to jeopardize my son's health to test a theory).

We don't even set our alarm clocks anymore, he's that consistent. So instead of the waking up to the buzz of the alarm, now our mornings are punctuated with the loud sounds of a whining baby, usually followed by a "Fuck" from P or me. We're going to keep trying things to see if we can get him to sleep just a little be longer in the mornings, but deep down I think this is just the way it's going to be for the next while.

It was Ben Franklin who once said, "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." Ooooo I so much want to bitch-slap Ben right now.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Keep That Up and You'll Go Blind

A little while back The Boy discovered his Yoo Hoo - aka penis. Since that fateful day, whenever the mood strikes him, he yanks on it in the bath.

I'm non-plussed. Should I stop him, or let him explore? I mean, to be honest one day he'll succumb to his hormones and do that anyways, so maybe I'm getting worked up for no reason.

I know there's nothing sexual about what he's doing, but it still weirds me out.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

I Go Ah-Walking...

Each day The Boy manages to walk just a little bit further before pitching over or grabbing onto something. Nine steps, then twelve, then fifteen and so on. He loves the fact he can walk now. One of his favourite things to do is to lean on his little car and push it all over the place.

If you're wondering, yes we did check to make sure no cars were coming.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Living in the Suburbs Means #3...

Commuting on public transit.

It baffles me how some people can smell so bad at 7:30 AM. I pity the poor soul who has to stand next to them at the end of the day. Yesterday I was sandwiched between one person with body odour and another person who apparently rubbed Vicks Vap-O-Rub on their chest. An intoxicating aroma of menthol and sweat - I almost puked.

Today my neighbour in transit smelled like a Hot Rum Toddy. It's 7:30 in the freaking morning, and you're into the rum? Now that's what I call hard core.

P says I should mind my own business stop smelling people on the train. Honey, I promise I'll stop as soon as I find someone who reeks like a tuna melt.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

This Hurts Me More Than You

The scene replays over and over in my head, and I get the same stomach churning feeling each time I think about it. The downside to learning how to walk - falling. I recently posted about the The Boy plopping down on his ass, and the ensuing mess it creates; this is way worse.

P was shopping so I was watching The Boy play in the backyard, or more specifically the hard, unforgiving concrete section of our backyard. Taking a few steps, crawling some, taking a few more steps. Suddenly he trips and does a face-plant onto the concrete.

C-R-A-C-K. The tears started immediately.

I never felt so guilty in all my life (and I've got lots to feel guilty about). I've always thought of myself as a pretty good dad, needless to say this has knocked me down a few pegs. P pretty much reacted the way I thought she would. "Why weren't you watching him?!?" "You have to be more careful!" She was pissed, and who can really blame her.

The thing is, I am careful, but short of keeping him away from obvious dangers, how can I predict when he is going trip and fall? Once P calmed down she did concede this could have happened on her watch too. Neither of us hover over The Boy at all times, although I have to admit I've been standing closer to him lately. I don't think there's a right or wrong answer here, short of getting him one of those ridiculous-looking padded baby helmets. I think the emotional scars it would leave The Boy far outweight the occassional bump on the head.

In typical toddler fashion, The Boy has forgotten the fall ever happened. Me? It's been four days now and I still feel like a sack of shit.